In recognition of the extraordinary progress it has made in establishing and sustainably funding their national protected areas network as part of their commitment to the Micronesia Challenge, the Republic of Palau is scheduled to receive a check for $1 million from The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The check, which will be handed over to President Tommy Remengesau during a high-level event in Koror, Palau, on September 10, is the first payment of the organization’s $3 million pledge to sustainable funding for the Micronesia Challenge. Similar funds have also been pledged by Conservation International. This is the first deposit into the endowment, which will be managed by the Micronesia Conservation Trust.
“This pledge demonstrates the serious commitment the Republic of Palau and The Nature Conservancy have made to the Challenge and our dedication to effectively preserve our important natural habitats,” said President Remengesau. “More importantly, in addition to serving as an inspiration to Palau, the financial commitment by TNC has already begun to leverage significant sources of international funding from the Global Environment Facility and other private individuals, agencies, organizations and governments around the world. It is the proverbial pebble sending ripples across the world’s oceans and Palau is proud that pebble came from its shores.”
Already, the Micronesia Challenge, along with the Global Island Partnership – an international joint venture that assists islands in protecting their natural resources, has spurred more than 20 island countries throughout the Pacific, the Coral Triangle and the Caribbean to take more ambitious steps toward sustainable environmental conservation.
The Republic of Palau raised almost $2 million on its own through both public and private funding and, more importantly, became the first developing country in the world to enact a national Protected Area Network law. A key provision of the law establishes a $30 visitor’s fee, of which $20 will go towards the sustainable financing mechanism of Palau's Protected Areas Network. The law takes effect on October 1, 2008.
President Remengesau added that this illustrates how a regional grassroots approach can be extremely successful in maximizing the capacity and ability of the region to access technical and funding assistance from various sources, and he called on the other Micronesia island nations to take advantage of the matching funds provided by the TNC and CI.
“The Micronesia Challenge is a tremendous example of how political will can transform the conservation landscape and inspire others to do the same,” said Russell Leiman, The Nature Conservancy’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director. “The global environmental leadership of President Remengesau and the Republic of Palau serves as an inspiration, not only to the region, but the rest of the world as well.”
The Micronesia Challenge is a commitment by the Chief Executives of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. Covering 6.7 million square kilometers of ocean, the Micronesia Challenge represents more than 20% of the Pacific island region and 5% of the largest ocean in the world.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.